DigitalOcean, an upstart cloud rival to Amazon, is bringing on a new CEO just a year after the last one started — and it has a new CFO, too


Yancey Spruill and Bill Sorenson

  • On Tuesday, developer cloud company DigitalOcean announced it has appointed Yancey Spruill as its new CEO, with Bill Sorenson as its new CFO.
  • Spruill, who previously was the COO and CFO at SendGrid, and Sorenson, who has previously served as CFO of EnerNOC, have both led companies through their respective IPOs.
  • These new appointments come just over a year after outgoing DigitalOcean CEO Mark Templeton began in the role. He officially announced his departure in May, citing personal reasons.
  • New CEO Spruill says that he wants to hunker down and stay focused on making DigitalOcean a sustainable, profitable company — and while he won’t commit to an IPO or another exit, he does say that DigitalOcean will need more capital to achieve its goals.
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DigitalOcean, an upstart cloud rival to Amazon Web Services that’s popular with developers, is getting a new CEO — a little over a year after the last one first arrived.

In May, outgoing DigitalOcean CEO Mark Templeton announced that he would step down, citing personal reasons, though he stayed on to assist with the search for a replacement.

On Tuesday, DigitalOcean announced that this search is complete, with Yancey Spruill poised to step in as the new chief executive, effective August 13th. That same day, DigitalOcean will get another new top exec, too, with Bill Sorenson tapped as its new CFO. 

“When I look at the core DNA of DigitalOcean and the passion we have for the developer community, the opportunity to help them is very powerful for me,” Spruill told Business Insider. “When you look at what the company has at its core, they obsess about the customer. They figure out how to satisfy the customer. That’s exciting for me to grow the next phase of the business.”

Most recently, Spruill was the COO and CFO at SendGrid, which was recently acquired by Twilio in February for about $3 billion. Spruill guided SendGrid through its 2017 IPO, and then through its sale earlier this year. Prior to that, he led the company DigitalGlobe to an IPO in 2009 as its CFO. DigitalGlobe has since been acquired by Maxar Technologies.

As for Sorenson, his last job was CFO of the energy technology company EnerNOC, which is now Enel X.  And previously, Sorenson also served as CFO of Qlik, which he led through its IPO in 2010. Qlik was since acquired by Thoma Bravo in 2016.

Spruill says that while Templeton’s run at the company was short, he has been integral to creating some clarity around DigitalOcean’s business strategy, as well as making key additions to the leadership team, like CTO Barry Cooks. DigitalOcean now has an annual recurring revenue of $250 million, thanks to its audience of 500,000 customers and 4 million developers. 

Read more: The CEO of DigitalOcean explains how its ‘cult following’ helped it grow a $225 million business even under the shadow of Amazon Web Services

“Frankly, creating a succession plan and executing on that are incredible contributions,” Spruill said “We are incredibly grateful for him being at the company over the last year and a half.”

The new CEO’s goals

Spruill says his experiences at SendGrid are “parallel” to what he will do at DigitalOcean. SendGrid creates developer-focused email applications. Likewise, while companies like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and Google also provide cloud services, DigitalOcean sets itself apart by appealing to developers. 

He plans to invest in the company’s go-to-market strategy, technology, and the people to help it grow. He says over the next several months, the leadership team will work together to figure out what the company’s key areas of focus will be.

“There’s so much in terms of hearing from our customers and hearing from our employees,” Spruill said. “We’re sort of weaving that into a mosaic of where we want to go and where we want to prioritize. That will sort of inform what we do want to change.”

Spruill says he doesn’t have specific plans for an IPO or exit yet, but he hopes to help the company execute on a strategy that leads to profitable growth. Regardless, Spruill says, DigitalOcean will need more investment to realize its ambitions — on top of the almost $200 million it’s already raised from investors like Andreessen Horowitz and IA Ventures.  

“We will need capital along the way to realize our execution path,” Spruill said. “The form of what that is, and how it takes shape over time, we’ll have more to say about that as time comes.”

‘Go big or stay home’

For his part, new CFO Sorenson is replacing Steve Senneff, who left DigitalOcean in March to pursue another opportunity as president and CFO of Remedy Partners. Sorenson says that he was attracted to the role because DigitalOcean is poised for explosive success. 

“Everyone is really excited about the opportunity, so it’s not like everyone will sit there and twiddle their thumbs,” Sorenson said. “I had a big birthday a couple years ago, and the T-shirt said, ‘Go big or stay home.’ That’s the feeling here at DigitalOcean. I’m looking forward to indeed going big.”

Sorenson says that in particular, DigitalOcean was looking for someone with more experience in international markets, as more than half of its revenue comes from overseas. In his previous roles, Sorenson himself has worked in companies that operated in many of those markets.

Now, he looks forward to a “big opportunity” at DigitalOcean and working with people who will go after it, as well as serving the developer community.

‘Too many shiny objects’

Spruill acknowledges that since much of the leadership team has seen so many new additions in the past year, employees may initially be worried about how this will change the company. To address that, he plans to focus on transparency and earning trust from employees. Spruill also hopes that employees will look at DigitalOcean as a place to grow in their professional careers. 

“As a new person, I don’t shy away from the fact that that creates anxiety,” Spruill said. “Change management is critical at the business scale. This is a big change management effort for us to bring in new leaders to the business…We will have to be mindful of how we communicate.”

He adds that one challenge will be “not focusing on too many shiny objects,” and staying focused on the execution of his strategy. 

“At this organization’s scale, the ability to focus on more than a handful of things at any given time becomes a challenge,” Spruill said. “It’s really just the discipline of managing and the fact that we’re adding so many people, and we’re adding products.”

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